An Post is to arrange grocery deliveries, medicines, free postage of parcels and letters and the delivery of newspapers for households as part of new measures to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
CEO David McRedmond confirmed several new measures today, many designed to help the elderly and vulnerable who are reluctant or unable to leave homes.
A key move will see An Post arrange the collection and free delivery of letters and parcels from vulnerable individuals who may be particularly at risk of the virus, helping some 160,000 homes.
It was also announced that postmen and postwomen would help arrange grocery or pharmacy deliveries to vulnerable households.
“So postmen and women will now, not just deliver the post, they will call on older and vulnerable people living in the communities, being a practical and trusted person usually known to those people, to help them.
"They'll go in with a set of questions such as, do they need food, do they need pharmacy, to send out messages. And the postmen and women will then take that back and we will look out for that and make sure that that gets fulfilled," Mr McRedmond said.
It was also announced elderly or vulnerable people can have their post delivered for free, and from their homes too.
Commenting on the newspaper delivery initiative, Ann Marie Lenihan, CEO of NewsBrands Ireland said: “We are happy to work with An Post to address this issue and the opportunity to ensure those people that can’t go out to their local shops during this crisis can still have access to quality journalism, fact-checked news on the latest Covid-19 developments, along with all the other light-hearted and entertaining content newspapers provide.”
The An Post CEO added: “We will also take parcels and letters from the elderly and vulnerable. And we estimate that somewhere around 10% of homes or 160,000 homes, we'll take letters and parcels and distribute them for free, so that they can stay connected with their loved ones.
“The third one [measure] is to help say 'hello'. We're encouraging everyone to reach out to friends and family. We are distributing two postcards for each household. We've distributed 2 million so far.
“We're going to distribute another 3 million to homes, to nursing homes to everybody in our society, to prisoners, everybody is going to get these cards, so they can write to their loved ones, and let them know they're thinking of them while staying apart.”
It was also announced that newspapers would be delivered to households from next Monday and that this was being coordinated with media groups.
“So we're working actively now with the National Newspapers of Ireland, and with the local newspapers of Ireland, to find a way so that we will, by the start of next week, be able to distribute newspapers to people and people will be able to register to get those newspapers delivered . We will start off with the elderly and vulnerable and then we will roll that out.”
The government and An Post have also agreed to distribute a booklet advising how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The yellow pamphlet will go out to every home in the country in the coming days and includes the latest advice from World Health Organisation and Irish officials about protecting homes against the spread of the virus as well as what measures to take.